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What is the difference between prayer and supplication I have noticed they are grouped together a lot in Scriptures- Wanting Clarification
Dear Wanting Clarification
Prayer is any time we talk to God and supplication is an earnest plea on behalf of a specific thing.
"Supplication (also known as petitioning) is the most common form of prayer, wherein a person asks a supernatural deity to provide something, either for the person who is praying or for someone else on whose behalf a prayer of supplication is being made" (Wikipedia Encyclopedia).
There are often certain characteristics associated with supplication. Webster's dictionary emphasizes that it is a humble request, but I am not sure I agree with that. To me it is more of an earnest or intense request, something that the petitioner feels strongly about and really wants God to do for them (or for the one they are praying for). I think of the difference between asking and pleading. When we plead, we are less likely to take "no" for an answer, to ask God to please reconsider, etc. When we supplicate, we work harder to try to convince God to do what we ask.
I tend to think as supplication as asking God to do something (or to give something) that I feel strongly about and really want to see happen. I am emotionally vested in the request. For instance, if someone sends me an email that says, "My daughter has cancer, please pray for her," I do pray for their daughter. I sincerely and genuinely want to see the girl healed, but I don't loose any sleep over it. Depending on how I feel led is how I will pray for the person, anything from agreeing with the petitioner for healing to rebuking a spirit of death/cancer to speaking life to the body to cursing the cancer and commanding it to shrivel up and die. If the request touches my heart, I will probably pray for the person for a longer time and maybe even for several days, expecting God to truly heal.
But when my close friend catches cancer, I pray differently because I am emotionally vested. I don't just want to see my friend healed, I urgently and desperately want to see my friend healed. I don't just pray a little, I pray a lot. I pull everything I can out of my prayer arsenal to pray for them. If they are geographically close, then I visit them and lay hands on them and pray on many different occasions. If they are far away, I pray for them by phone. I don't just pray as I feel led (though I do pray as I feel led first). But I want to cover all bases, so I do authority prayer, commanding the cancer to leave. I rebuke a spirit of death. I speak health to their physical body. I plead with God to heal them. I systematically pray everything I know to pray for cancer healing, and I probably do it frequently. I keep closer tabs on the person to see how they are doing.
Supplication has a sense of earnestness and urgency to it. Petition is where we bring requests and would like to see them answered, but we don't have that same intensity. In petition, if God says, "No" we accept His answer and move on. In supplication, we are more emotionally attached to the request and will spend more time/energy trying to convince Him to change His mind. (Sometimes He will change His mind and give us what we supplicate for, other times He won't. At some point the Lord may make it clear to us that He wants us to stop asking, and then we obey Him.)
There is one more thing I want to say about prayer. Up until now, I have been talking about petition prayer (asking God for something for yourself or someone else) and contrasting that with supplication. The difference was the degree of intensity you felt for the request. But petition is only one small aspect of prayer.
Prayer is any type of talking with God. I do a lot of listening prayer where I just come before Him and let Him talk to me about whatever He fells like talking about. I do a lot of fellowship prayer, where I am just hanging out with God and drawing close to Him. I also do worship prayer, which is worshipping Him and reminding myself of the good things He has already done in my life.
There are many different types of prayer besides asking God to do something for you. If you are interested in exploring this more, please check out the teaching series called "A Prayer Sampler" at http://www.godspeak.net/pr_lessons/pr20_index.html. Or if you prefer physical books to the internet, you can purchase my book "Revolutionize Your Prayer Life" from Lulu press at http://www.lulu.com/content/177230.